The Quarter horse, or Quarter horse, is a horse breed originating in the United States especially suitable for short races (400 meters), for all kinds of competitions and exhibitions related to rodeos and as a cowboy horse. It is the equine breed with the most registered animals in the world, more than 4 million, this makes it one of the most popular.
It is said of him that he is the horse of those cowboys and peasants who live and die mounted on their horses. Do we know him a little more?
Table of Contents
How is it?
Strong skeleton, powerful muscle mass and a height that ranges between 142 cm and 163 cm, the Quarter Horse has a broad chest and rounded rump. Its small head with a straight profile, has short and very mobile ears, as well as lively eyes that give it an expression of intelligence. Something that does not remain only in appearances, since it is said of them that they can almost guess the intentions of their rider to perform fast movements in a limited space. This makes it the ideal cowboy equineNot only for his good ability to ride, but because in addition to a excellent runner in short distances, has a considerable resistance to long walks if necessary.
It is also a excellent animal to work with livestock and that has a calm character, very sociable and sensitive, he likes to be with people a lot.
The Quarter Horses, they can have almost any type of coat color. We can find any of the basic coats: black, brown, chestnut and chestnut; different types of diluted like cream, dun, champagne and pearl. In addition, in some cases the roan and liart patterns appear, or the speckled patterns, which were once excluded and today admitted in those specimens whose pure breed is demonstrable. The most frequent layer is the saura or sorrel (of reddish hue) in its variety «sorrel», that is, the manes of a color similar to the hairs of the body (for some this variety implies washed manes, but this is not the case).
Rates within the Quarter of a Mile according to their use
Western horse («Stock type»), Used for competitions of rein, cut and apart, calf bonding, steer bonding, steer knockdown, being the cut and apart where this breed stands out.
Show horse («Halter type»), in which exaggerated musculature prevails, keeping the head small and refined. The height is between 154 and 163 cm and the weight can reach 546 kg.
Racehorse ("Racing and hunter type"), They usually have a great length and long legs, but where they stand out is in having a robust conformation that allows them an explosive acceleration. The races are officially held at racetracks with 11 distances, currently recognized by the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), ranging from the 220 yards to 870 yards.
A little of you history
Before starting to talk about the origin of the Quarter Horse, we are going to name and explain a bit some of the historical facts that influenced, in addition to these equines, a large number of current horse breeds.
Approximately between the years 711 and 726, the Muslim invasion of the Iberian Peninsula took place. It is then, when two of the most influential equine breeds in the founding of new breeds, arrived in Europe: the Arabian and Berber horse from North Africa. Both have a fundamental role in Spanish, Portuguese and French horses.
Several centuries later, In 1519, Hernán Cortés arrived in the New World with 32 horses, among which were those from the Guadalquivir Valley or the Marismas and horses descended from both the Arabs and the Berbers. The story that comes after is a little better known, some horses got away, becoming maroon horses that were reproducing and spreading throughout the continent. Different types of equines emerged from these wild horses like the Mustang.
By 1800, the plains of the western United States were populated by wild herds of horses, the source of equines for the American Indians, which They learned to tame them, became excellent horsemen, and began breeding horses. They were good geneticists and made various crosses to obtain better horses for war and work. A good example is the pinto horse, known as "The horse of the Indians."
Other historical events that had great influence on the Quarter Mile were the English and French colonization of the northern territories. With the arrival of the English, we are not referring to that they carried the English Thoroughbred with them, that race did not yet exist as such.
In Europe in general, not only In England, It was not frequent to have horses if you were not wealthy, as equines were very expensive. Hence, those who had these animals were called "Knights", who also used them in battle. These equines had to support not only the weight of their rider but also that of their armor, so they were large horses more similar to draft horses. And on the other hand, for the displacements they had other smaller horses such as the Connemara of Ireland or the Galloway of Scotland. These, despite being little ones, were muscular, strong, comfortable for horseback riding and with a docile character.
Another point to keep in mind is that most of the English settlers were townspeople in search of a better future and that if they had a horse, it was one of the economic ones.
In addition, to all this, we must add the restriction that the horses of the English breed, the fine ones, could not leave the country to breed in the New World. This restriction was to ensure the purity of the breed and is something that is still in force today in some countries, such as Icelandic horses.
A these horses that the English brought, It happened to them similar to that of the Spaniards, they escaped or were released and joined the already established herds of wild horses.
Another fact that must be attributed to Englishmen is that They transferred their love of horse racing to America, where short distance racing was already popular.
Lack of facilities made short quarter mile races (402 meters approximately) become very popular, since that was the standard measurement of the streets of most towns, and to carry out a horse race it was only necessary to agree that it started at the beginning of the street and ended at the end of it.
Around 1730, colonists with money imported English Thoroughbred horses to compete and breed with American mares. One of the most famous horses was Janus, a grandson of Godolphin Arabian, born in 1746 and imported to Virginia by John Randolph in 1756.
You can't say that Janus was the horse that founded the Quarter-Mile race, but his offspring that were compact and powerful, would significantly influence this new breed.
Another horse of great importance was Sir archy, born in 1805, whose descendants were the most influential in the development of the Quarter-Mile race. Cooper Bottom, Steel Dust and Shilo would be the children that they had more importance since they are the stallions that they founded the Quarter Mile race. In 1844, Steel Dust arrived in Texas and a few years later came Shilo, from the union of a daughter of the first and a son of the second, the stallion Billy from which the Texan Quarter Horses come from would be born.
It would be precisely in Texas where This breed of horses ceased to be just a short race, and would become the quintessential breed of cowboy horses. There, it is where the Quarter Mile made its great contribution in the world of the cattle industry, with its great expertise in the mobilization of cattle.
After the civil war, cattle ranches began to emerge. Initially, the cattle were collected in the open field, herded together and herded to the corrals. To move these herds across the north of the country, they used the railroad lines in south Texas. The arrival of the Quarter Mile was in part a small revolution. The cowboys discovered the instinct that this equine breed possessed to do the work on the ranches, roping and herding the cattle, in addition to competing in the races as it had been doing so far.
To this genetic mix of equines, seen so far, you have to add one more to finish this new breed: the mustang. These magnificent wild horses were crossed with the descendants of Janus and Sir Archy, finishing the Quarter Race.
In 1940 :, a group of people related to horses in the southwestern United States, including breeders and ranchers, founded the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) to preserve the genealogy of his Cowboy Quarter Horses.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I did writing it.